Antelope Valley Press - AV Living (Antelope Valley)
Breast cancer prevention, a healthy lifestyle matters
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in America, except for skin cancer. In 2021, an estimated 281,550 cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S., alone. So no matter who you are or where you live, understanding breast cancer is important.
The good news is that because of increased awareness, early detection and advances in treatment, survival rates continue to climb and millions of women are surviving the disease.
Risk factors for breast cancer include age, weight, diet, medical history, family history and lifestyle choices.
Lifestyle choices can increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. But you can do things that are good for your health and can help lower your risk of getting breast cancer.
A HEALTHY DIET
What we eat on a daily basis has a very powerful effect on our health and quality of life.
Eating the right kinds of foods can help you feel better and stay healthy.
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes all have important nutrients and other cancer-fighting substances that strengthen the immune system.
MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT
A weight gain of 20 pounds or more after the age of 18 may increase your risk.
Being overweight after menopause increases your risk.
If over weight, losing weight may lower your risk.
STAY PHYSICALLY ACTIVE
Physical activity not only helps with weight loss or maintenance, but may help lower your risk of breast cancer. This benefit is seen most clearly in women after menopause. Exercise fights obesity and may lower estrogen levels. It also can help boost the immune system so that it can help kill or slow the growth of cancer cells.
To get started:
Before you start an exercise program, see a doctor if you have been inactive for a long time, have a chronic health condition, or are over 40 years old.
Include moderate physical activity daily — like brisk walking for 30 minutes.
Do activities that you enjoy – anything that gets you moving.
If you are already active, keep it up.
Researchers has found an increased breast cancer risk among women who smoke, especially those who start smoking before they have their first child.
Research also has shown that there may be link between very heavy second-hand smoke exposure and breast cancer risk in post-menopausal women.
LIMIT ALCOHOL INTAKE
Although there is research that shows having a glass of red wine each day reduces your risk of heart disease, many studies have also shown that drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer. The more alcohol you drink, the higher your risk of breast cancer. If you drink alcohol, have less than one drink a day.
BREASTFEED IF YOU CAN
Breastfeeding may help protect against breast cancer.
ROUTINE HEALTH CARE
Talk with a doctor about which screening tests are right for you.
Clinical breast exam
— done by a health care professional in an office or clinic.
— an X-ray of the breast. Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms.
— may be done to check the
breasts for lumps or other changes. Doing breast self-exams has not been shown to decrease the chance of dying from breast cancer.
Because the signs of breast cancer are not the same for everyone, it is important to know how your breasts normally look and feel. If you notice any changes, see your doctor.
While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages. Join the fight against breast cancer and take the steps to live a healthy life.
High Desert Medical Group offers a variety of classes and workshops that can help reach health and nutrition goals. For more information call 661-951-3375, send email to hdmghealtheducation@ hdmg.net or visit www.hdmg.net
Cheryl Mashore is an LVN, CNWC and director of Health Education at High Desert Medical Group.